Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Safety Base

For the last two days I have been practicing softball in preparation for the season (teams are picked on Saturday). Players take turns hitting while the others cover the field. I was asked to play first base to allow the shortstop to practice making throws to first after he fielded grounders.

When I reached the base, I realized there were actually two first bases. One was in the normal position on the first base line. The other was positioned against it on the second base line; that is, it jutted out further into the field.

I asked the inmate pitching why there were two first bases.

"It's a safety base."

"I've never seen one before."

"That's because you're in prison now."

Yes. I guess I am.

The safety base is designed to prevent the runner -- intentionally or unintentially -- from stepping off the front of the first-base and injuring his ankle. The first baseman puts his foot on the second first-base to force the runner out while the runner touches the first first-base.

Makes sense to me but I'd never seen it before. What about y'all?

1 comment:

Paul Eilers said...

Never heard of a "safety" base before.

So what happens if the ball hits the "safety" base? Is that considered to be in play?

(In college, I umped Little League and JV baseball.)


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